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The Teaching Home
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The Teaching Home
Information, Inspiration, and Encouragement


Number 28                                        Feb. 16, 2003
Cindy Short and Sue Welch, editors
You are welcome to forward this newsletter in its entirety.

Table of Contents

  • 15-Part Basic Skills Series
  •      Reading Comprehension
  •      Progression in Learning
  •      Skill-Building Activities for Analysis
  •      Skill-Building Activities for Synthesis
  • Announcement: Home-School Grads Needed for Survey
  • Recommended Resources
  •      Audio Memory: You Never Forget What You Sing!
  •      The Teaching Home: Never-Out-of-Date Back Issues
  •      Bitterroot NW: Lewis and Clark Expedition Route
  •      The Homeschooling Bookstore: Science Projects
  • Sunny Side Up: Humorous Anecdote


         As we continue our 15-part Basic Skills Series, practical aspects of reading comprehension will be discussed as well as academic considerations of the progression of learning.

         In this time of worldwide uncertainty, we would encourage you to continue to pray that our nation will turn to God, that the Lord's wisdom and protection will be granted to our president, and that Christians everywhere will trust in the Lord and make known His love to others.

    Sue Welch
    for Pat, Sue, Heather, Holly, and Brian Welch
    The Teaching Home is a home-school family business produced in our home since 1980.

         You Never Forget What You Sing!
              Award-winning, catchy sing-alongs teach: * Bible
         * Math Facts * Grammar * Punctuation * U.S. History
         * States & Capitals * World Geography. Cassettes,
         CDs, books, and posters. Free Catalog. (800) 365-SING
         Hear 40 samples at
         or buy CD sampler with 12 songs for only $5.

    15-Part Series on Basic Skills
    by Cindy Short and Sue Welch, editors

         Our 15-part series is written to help you evaluate your children's skill levels and help them improve in those areas. Topics include:

         1. Listening - Newsletter #18
         2. Word Analysis/Phonics - Newsletter #19
         3. Vocabulary - Newsletter #21
         4. Reading Comprehension: Facts - Newsletter #23
         5. Reading Comprehension: Inferences - Newsletter #25
              Reading Comprehension (continued) - Newsletter #26
         6. Reading Comprehension: Generalizations (This Issue)
         7. Spelling
         8. Capitalization & Punctuation
         9. Grammar
         10. Writing & Penmanship
         11. Visual Materials
         12. Reference Materials
         13. Math: Concepts & Computation
         14. Math: Problem Solving
         15. Thinking Skills, Logic, and Speech

    Reading Comprehension
         We have been moving slowly through our consideration of "Reading Comprehension" and related topics.
         In this issue we will consider two aspects of generalization -- analysis and synthesis. We will continue in our next issue with application and evaluation.

    Progression in Learning
         Our considerations of reading comprehension have loosely followed the six levels of Bloom's Taxonomy, a classification of intellectual steps in learning. These divisions are not absolutes, but are easily understood and widely applied. They are helpful in assessing and discussing education.

         As mentioned in issue #23, these levels roughly correspond to the sequence of learning proposed in Dorothy Sayer's article, "The Lost Tools of Learning," now known as "classical education."

         Another way of looking at this natural progression of learning is seen in the difference choices of words used in Scripture. It is simply that we:

    1. Acquire Knowledge. "The fear of the Lord is the beginning
         of knowledge" Proverbs 1:7a.
    2. Get Understanding. "Through thy precepts I get
         understanding" Psalm 119:104.
    3. Finally develop the Wisdom to use what we have learned
         and understood. "For the Lord giveth wisdom: out of his
         mouth cometh knowledge and understanding" Proverbs 2:6.

         We can see progress through these stages in two examples:
    * Children normally go through this progression as they grow and
    * These are also the same steps that a person of any age goes
         through as they learn a new subject or discipline.

         The following is the list of Bloom's six levels and the corresponding divisions of classical education.

    1. Knowledge (Newsletter #23)
         Knowledge deals with specific facts and the ability to recall them. It would involve observation, definition, and memorization.
         This level would correspond to the Grammar Stage of classical education where facts, the fundamental data of various subjects, are learned. This is the foundation, made up of "who, what, where, and when."

    2. Comprehension (Newsletters #25 & 26)
         Comprehension is grasping the meaning, understanding the informational materials. It is often tested by paraphrasing, restating in one's own words.

    3. Application (Upcoming Newsletter)
         Application is the use of previously learned information. It can be the use of facts or skills to solve a problem as in math, or the application of a principle to one's life, as in applying God's Word.

    4. Analysis (This Newsletter; see below.)
         Analysis is breaking down materials into their component parts and examining them. Relationships, structure, and hidden meanings are discovered.
         This level would correspond to the Logic Stage of classical education as facts are logically analyzed through careful reasoning. Ordered relationships connect the particulars together and answer the "how and why."

    5. Synthesis (This Newsletter; see below.)
         Synthesis puts the parts of the whole together again, but in a different way, to form a new whole as it relates knowledge from several areas.
         This level would correspond to the Rhetoric Stage of classical education as derived principles are expressed in speech or writing in an articulate and effective manner.

    6. Evaluation (Upcoming Newsletter)
         Evaluation judges material based on internal and external criteria as to its value, validity, logical consistency, truth, reality and God's Word.

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    Skill-Building Activities for
    Reading Comprehension: Analysis

    Let's take it apart.
         Analyzing a work can be aided by the use of a Christian literature textbook or literature study guide (see newsletter #26) in which many elements are examined.

    __ Find and study the allusions (references to other literature, the Bible, mythology, history, cultural items, historical figures and events).

    __ Identify the imagery or figures of speech, such as similes, metaphors, and personifications.

    __ Discuss the characters, their values, motives, and actions.

    Is it real?
         You can classify a work based on its realism.

    __ Help younger children notice if a story is realistic:
    1) Ask if things could really happen that way, or if it is a
         fairy tale.
    2) Explain how an allegory or parable uses real things to
         represent spiritual or moral truths.

    __ Explain the characteristics of:
    1) Nonfiction (the story really happened, sometimes with dialog
         filled in to represent true circumstances)
    2) Historical fiction (fictional characters and events set in an
         accurate historical setting that might also include actual people
         and events).

    What's the point?
         Every work has a message, as Dr. Francis Schaeffer has pointed out so well in his books and video set, "How Shall We Then Live."

    __ Have your children look for the main idea or underlying message of a story or book and put it in their own words.

    __ Teach children to summarize stories, poems, or paragraphs.

    What are the relationships?

    __ Show your child how to look for the basic plot of a book and how various characters and events are related and interact to cause the plot to develop. (Most plots start with a problem, go through development and crisis, and come to a solution.)

    __ Examine the relevancy of the material included in the story. Did each part contribute to the whole or was something unnecessary and distracting?

    __ Include instruction in outlining to show relationships.
    1) Start by identifying the main sentences in simple paragraphs.
    2) Increase to outlining complex passages.
    3) Create a simple, 1-page outline of an entire book.
    Stories or chapters from the Bible are good sources of material.

    What is the author's perspective?
         Every writer has a worldview that affects his works; it is impossible to have a completely neutral viewpoint. Knowing the historical and biographical details of an author's life can alert you to some of the philosophies that may be present in his work.

    __ Look for and discuss literary details that reveal the author's philosophy.

    __ Ask why the author wrote the story. Was it to entertain, inform, impart a message, or persuade the reader to change his mind?

    __ Consider what worldview is infused into nonfiction and reference materials, as well as in fiction.

         Plan a Family Field Trip/Vacation/Adventure
         Following the Lewis and Clark Expedition Route

              "Proud to Lead Proud to Follow" is a guided tour
         novel of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Includes
         directions to 138 designated stops and quotes from the
         journals. Three sets of cassette tapes (four 90-minute
         tapes in each set).

    Skill-Building Activities for
    Reading Comprehension: Synthesis

         Many of the 100+ Creative Book Reports & Unit Study Activities listed in Newsletter #26 give practical exercises and activities in synthesis such as:

    1) Art and Craft Projects
    2) Speech and Drama Suggestions
    3) Writing Activities
    4) Written and/or Oral Reports
    5) Group Activities

    __ Unit studies help you combine and integrate related knowledge from several areas. (See Literature-Based Unit Studies article in Newsletter # 25.)

    __ Learn the principles of debate and practice within your own family or get involved with others in a formal program (see article in upcoming newsletter).

    __ Use elements from several stories to write your own story (time setting from one, location from another, characters from several).

         How To Do a Successful Science Project
              Comprehensive manual guides parents and students
         step-by-step through the process from selecting an idea
         to competing in the fair. No other academic pursuit
         teaches such a variety of disciplines and skills.

    Adults Who Were Home Schooled
    Are Needed for a New Survey

         A major study of adults who were home schooled is underway by The National Home Education Research Institute and the National Center for Home Education.
         Because of past research, it is well understood that home-schooled students are doing well academically and socially as students. However, because of the large number of home-school graduates, it is time to consider how students who were home schooled are fairing after graduation.
         Anyone at least 16 years old, who was home schooled for 1 to 13 years, is invited to participate in this study by filling out a survey.
         The survey is available online until March 15 at or on paper. It takes only 15 to 40 minutes to complete. Responses will be treated with utmost confidentiality. Results will be available in late 2003.
         All home schoolers are asked to distribute this information as widely as possible. Thank you for taking the time to help make this study successful.

    Brian D. Ray, Ph.D., President
    National Home Education Research Institute
    PO Box 13939, Salem OR 97309

    See the NHERI Website
         For information on home-education research, including:
    Home Education: The Informed Choice (video)
    Worldwide Guide to Homeschooling (book)
    Home Schooling on the Threshold (booklet)

         Please Thank & Support Sponsoring Advertisers!
              These free newsletters are made possible      financially by the fine suppliers who advertise.      Please remember those that have advertised in our last      issue (below) as well as the ones in this issue.

         How Great Thou Art. Complete Art Curriculum.
         Stepware: Access & Improve Reading Skills.
         Children's Ministry. Biblical Foundation of Knowledge.
         RCI Holiday Network. Save on Family Vacations.
         Media Angels. Creationist Science Curriculum.

    Sunny Side Up: Just Don't Tell Him You're Supposed To Get Them on Your Clothes First!
         One evening I found our 5-year-old, Michael, putting his new crayons in the filled bathroom sink.
         When asked what he was doing, he replied, "Washing them; they are washable!"
         Sent by Roberta L., New York
         You are also invited to submit your humorous anecdote.

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